Bedbugs can come to work
The fact is that through our jobs or in our lives outside of work, all of us have the potential to be exposed to bedbugs.
Bedbugs are most commonly found in residences. But the potential exists for them to be transported to and from almost any public building, vehicle or work site.
Bedbugs have been encountered in hotels/motels, health care facilities, college dormitories, schools, libraries, movie theaters, Laundromats, furniture and appliance rental stores, and office buildings.
Dealing with an Infestation
Treatment by a professional exterminator is necessary for any bedbug infestation. A high heat method or a combination of insecticides may be used. Multiple applications may be required.
In apartments and hotels, extermination of nearby units will also be required.
The exterminator may determine that the furniture may have to be discarded, especially if heavily infested with bedbugs. Follow recommendations about laundering and cleaning up clutter, both of which help to ensure that bed bugs are completely eradicated.
Seeing clients in an office or clinic setting
- Any evidence of bedbugs should be reported immediately to management.
Staff should bring only necessary items into work. Their personal items should be kept in employee only areas.
- When buying furniture that clients will use, look for non-fabric, easily cleanable chairs, tables, couches and other items. Coat trees or coat hangers should also be available for clients’ use.
- Staff should observe clients during the visit and check for bedbugs afterwards. Pay extra attention to items such as baby carriers and strollers, diaper bags and backpacks. Make sure this is done in a reasonable and professional manner, without causing any discomfort, embarrassment or stress to any client.
- If bedbugs are spotted, train staff to:
- Alert management to the issue.
- If it’s a small number of bugs: Kill the bugs, then dispose of them in a trash bag, securely tied and thrown away in the Dumpster.
- Immediately use a hand-held vacuum to sweep up the affected area. Remove the vacuum bag and place it in a trash bag. Tie the bag and place it in the Dumpster.
- Do a visual inspection of lobby and common areas at least at the end of each day. Check seating, floors and walls immediately around seating, areas where jackets and similar items are placed, sign-in counters, carpeted areas for children and bathrooms.
- Thoroughly vacuum the carpet and upholstered chairs, couches, and other surfaces in the lobby, client stations, and common areas regularly (daily if practical). Dispose of the vacuum bags in a heavy duty trash bag, securely tie and immediately take to the Dumpster.
- If infestation is suspected, don’t delay. Have it looked it by a professional exterminator immediately so that the situation can be properly addressed. This may prevent the spread of the infestation.
Visiting clients’ homes or performing other types of field visits
- Be on alert for any signs of bedbugs.
- Notify an applicable supervisor if any bedbugs are found.
- If an infestation is found, educate the family about bedbugs. Discuss the need for professional pest control treatment. Discuss the steps to protect against re-infestation. Talk about any follow-up medical care for any bites or welts.
- Wear light colored clothing. This makes it easier to see if any bedbugs have crawled onto clothes. Consider wearing disposable coveralls, booties, or disposable scrubs if a client’s home is known to have an infestation.
- Only take equipment and materials needed for that visit into a client’s home.
- Do not set equipment on the floor, bed, couch or other upholstered furniture. Do not sit on beds. Generally it is best to stand; but it is safer to sit on a hard surface chair than on any upholstered piece of furniture. A portable luggage rack and a portable seat may be an alternative to keep employees and their belongings off potentially infested furniture.
- Once you leave, check your equipment and clothing before you get into your car. If you have disposable wear, carefully take it off, put in a heavy duty trash bag and securely tie. Dispose of as soon as possible.
- Upon reaching home, put appropriate items directly from the trash bag into the washer and/or dryer. If you can put the item in water, wash in the washing machine and place in the dryer on hot (120° or higher). Items such as backpacks or duffel bags can go directly in the dryer.
- Keep extra clothes in the car to change into if needed.
- If you find that you have bedbugs on yourself or your equipment, get to a safe location and place all suspect items in trash bags, securely tie, and follow the washing and drying instructions above. Thoroughly vacuum and clean your vehicle. Items that cannot be washed and placed in dryers should be addressed by use of portable heating units, manually removing bedbugs or similar alternative means.
- If you transport clients, inspect and thoroughly vacuum your vehicle at the end of every shift. Law enforcement and EMS officers should wipe down equipment as often as practical. Take special care if you know that the client has a bedbug infestation.
Working in a school or child care facility
- Be alert to signs of possible infestation at a student’s home. Look for bugs or sheddings on backpacks, diaper bags, lunch bags, clothing, jackets or shoes. Be observant of bug bites, welts or rashes that may be attributed to bedbugs.
- Constantly check nurse’s stations, areas where children take naps, locker rooms and any area where backpacks and duffel bags are piled during after school events.
- Determine guidelines if bedbugs have been found. This may include:
- Talking with the student and their family
- Educating the family about bedbugs
- Communicating to all the parents at the school
- Separating each child’s personal belongings (locker or closed cubby)
- Regular room inspections
- Screening items that come in with the child/student.
- If any room or area has been found to contain bedbugs, have it treated by a professional exterminator.
Traveling and staying in hotels
- Be vigilant when you stay in a hotel. Thoroughly check the room for bedbugs before taking your luggage in. Examine the bed sheets and upper and lower seams of the mattress and box spring, especially along the head of the bed. If accessible, examine the headboard and look at the base boards and wall trim in the room.
- If bedbugs are discovered or any sign of bed bugs including translucent eggs, small dark spots or smeared blood stains on the seams of the mattress, immediately request another room, preferably in another area of the building.
- Keep your suitcases off the floor. Use a luggage stand, tabletop or other hard surface. Hang clothes and keep suitcases zippered closed. Keep all shopping bags, changes of clothes, and belongings on the table or bureau. Keep everything off the carpeted floor and away from the bed.
- Before returning home, carefully check all personal belongings. Thoroughly inspect the seams of suitcases, backpacks and personal bags.
- If you suspect any bedbug exposure, or if bites, itchy welts or other signs that you were bitten by bedbugs occurred during your stay, pack and securely tie all belongings in heavy duty disposable trash bags for the trip home.
- Upon reaching home, put items directly from the trash bag into the washer and/or dryer. If you can put the item in water, wash it in the washing machine and place it in the dryer on hot (120° or higher). Items such as backpacks or duffel bags can go directly in the dryer.